theift

Dude where’s my bike? (Part 2)

Obviously having your bike stolen isn’t the best thing the world to happen to you whilst traveling, especially when most of your trip is focused on MTB. Although later in my travels, the silver lining to this incident became very clear to me.

When I was traveling to and from airports/train stations and onto trams I imagined doing it with my bike [which was in a bike box]. I would have had immense trouble moving my bike around and onto and off trains, trams and buses because they were almost always completely full. As it was, fitting my self and my carrying bag onto transport troublesome enough. It saved me a lot of money on planes as well. I was planning to purchase a lot of additional luggage on this trip for my flights but now I didn’t have to!

Since I had packed mainly summer clothes I had very little clothes for cooler climates like Austria. I had always figured I would just purchase some warm clothes while I was there. I did just that, but after when I had to leave my carry bag was very full and if I had all my bike equipment and bike clothes I would of had so much over flow and extra baggage.

There are a few things I learnt from my bike being stolen is; always try and ask hostels if you can keep your bike locked up inside. I had a problem with the Hostel in Helsinki because there were narrow hallways and very little space to leave our bikes and you had to head up stairwells and go through a few doors. When traveling with bikes always have more than enough money for taxi’s, because traveling with a bike box, a big carry bag and a backpack on public transport really isn’t a viable option. Cheaper, but one shouldn’t rely on it.

Always have insurance on your bike, especially when it’s valuable. The reason my friend Karl and I didn’t really freak out was because we were covered by very good insurance. I have been overseas to 4 of these events now and I have never needed the insurance until this trip. [My friend was covered adequately enough by the insurance claim, I am waiting to do mine until I get back into Australia] So even though it is expensive or an added cost to have your bike+belongings covered, definitely worth the peace of mind. As corny as that sounds. [I had Chubb insurance, I can’t say to what type or cover of insurance since we paid for it through the Australian Team]

There were down sides of not having my bike, obviously. I was planning to use my bike to go for rides in all the places I had chosen to visit, as well as use it to commute to accommodation and avoid paying for public transport in the places I was visiting, also to keep some fitness. But since I planned my trip ahead of time and I have some of the best international friends in the world, they helped me get a bike to ride in their countries or changed the plans so I could have fun off the bike. So the experiences were just as golden. I did feel like as if something was missing for the whole trip. RIP bike, may the new owner have its forks explode and the wheels fold whilst they are heading down hill in to a busy intersection.

Interesting side story to this. My friend was contacted about two weeks ago from the Helsinki Police saying they had found my friends bike but not mine. They caught a criminal and in their basement was the bike, along with other stolen belongings, but my bike wasn’t anywhere to be seen.

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Dude where’s my bike? (Part 1)

How would I personally describe Helsinki? – One massive university with high cost of goods. The city is scattered with lovely forest and rad trails. Nearly everyone spoke English all the time rather than their main language and there were so many people from english speaking countries.

With all this said, it was fairly boring in parts for what I was expecting. Riding around the streets were fun, yet still dangerous (not really dangerous) and I managed to dint my helmet severely after smashing my head into a low hanging branch of a tree that was hidden by a bunch low hanging leaves.

Karl and I road around and found trails close to our accomodation. We met up with a group of some awesome MTB guys that I had e-mailed before coming to Europe. I contacted these MTBers through a bikeshop/forum and told them what I was looking to do some riding in my time in Helsinki. So we met up with them in the Helsinki forest/park and went for a spin.

The trails were absolutely amazing. So many roots and rocks. Slippery surfaces and muddy ruts. Everyone but Karl and I were riding free-ride bikes, they had a nice amount of suspension on the front and rear of their rigs. It was more free-riding terrain but we gave it our best.

There were many steep pinches and damp root covered climbs on this fairly flat bushland, but with the constant up and down we managed to get a fair amount of climb on this 2-3hr MTB ride. We saw these guys ride some insane drops and bomb down some loose chutes.

It was coming towards the day that we were departing Helsinki. We had been locking up our bikes outside this hostel, around a corner and out of site with a decent lock. The hostel was apart of an old stadium in Helsinki. To get into this hostel by car you had to drive for 300-400m in from a road. Drive into a large fenced off gate area. Also there were plenty of other bikes locked up out front of the hostel. So we felt fairly confident of the security.

The day before we are suppose to fly out we went down the stairs and out side and around the corner to get out bikes. That weren’t there. Gone. I was kind of shocked that this actually happened as well as my friend Karl was. Luckily we were still covered by insurance and so we called the insurance company up via the hostel and filed a case. Went to the Helsinki police station and got a police report for our bikes.

To be continued.